Here’s how to get a working radiator for your vintage car
Life can be easier for people who drive a recent model, mass produced car. If the radiator breaks down, finding a new one is easy and straightforward. It’s a different story for people who love vintage cars. The happiness that those beautiful machines bring can turn to despair when it comes time to find working radiators.
Genuine parts often aren’t an option. Authentic vintage radiators are seldom in working condition. The remaining options are either:
1) undertaking repairs on the old radiator, or
2) having a new, custom radiator fitted to the vehicle
Sometimes, that first option just isn’t feasible — the wear and tear to the radiator is simply too great. In that case, it’s time to have a custom radiator made and installed.
What material should my vintage radiator be made from?
Radiators have historically been made from many different materials, like aluminium, cast iron, brass, and even plastic. However, since the 1970s, most radiators have been made of steel. Prior to that, many vintage radiators were made from a combination of copper and brass.
Although they’re usually used in older cars, don’t think of copper and brass radiators as being inferior products. In fact, they’re still very popular today with off-roading, or for commercial, or industrial uses.
If you’re committed to keeping your vintage car as true to its origins as possible, find out the materials used for your vintage car’s radiator, and go with that.
What design is the radiator for my vintage car?
Radiators come in all shapes and sizes — just like vintage cars. Even if your vintage automobile has unique dimensions, a qualified radiator specialist should be able to craft parts that work specifically for your car.
There are many different designs of radiator. In vintage cars, they’re usually of the hexagonal style. A tubular style radiator is less common, but that might be something to keep in mind.
There isn’t an especial advantage that one style of radiator has over the other. It’s more a matter of maintaining the original spirit of the vehicle, and replicating a part that is in keeping with the integrity of the car.
Research can make all the difference
We’ve covered off the features you need for your vintage car radiator: materials, dimensions, and design. Now, you need to find out which is right for your specific automobile.
If you have access to an original working drawing for your car’s radiator, that is going to be incredibly helpful for the person making a new one. Alternately, if you can find detailed pictures of the car radiator as it was, these may be of use to the technician replacing the radiator. If you actually have the old radiator, that could be the most helpful thing of all.
Keep your new radiator working
Whether your radiator has been repaired or if you now have a brand new radiator, it’s important to keep it working. Vintage cars need a little more care and attention than their contemporary counterparts, so always ensure that your vehicle gets regular maintenance from a cooling expert.